Walking swiftly down the long corridor of a pristine and ornate hall, a young and fumbling soldier struggles to keep pace along side his commanding officer. Whose very presence demanded so great a respect, he dare not walk too near or too far from his stead. His eyes forever trailing on the golden epaulettes of the man’s coat, as is fearful to catch his superiors eye. Though just as nervous to drop his gaze.
"General...? Sir, if I may--?", He’d carefully inquire, hesitance clear in his tone. The younger man received no answer, waiting for what would feel like forever. The only sounds in the corridor his own voice and the deft clack of each others steady foot steps upon the clean and equally pristine floor.
"The...The project, Sir? Despite the loss of Specimen V 3.0, the duplication procedure of Agent Crystal's original process has come a long ways these past years. With the successful reconstruction of Specimen 2.9's genetic structure and educational process, we've managed to implement and enhance her predecessors.” Pausing to suck in a sharp breath of air, the young soldier waited expectantly for some gesture of acknowledgement from his superior.
“With all due respect to Agent Crystals work, 3.0 is imperfect and her performance has shown little improvement in the field. I think we should retire her training and focus on the specimens still in our custody,” the soldier ventured carefully, confidence rising with his tone.
Pausing to catch his breath, the man looked to his General for recognition of the idea. Uncertain if he should be pleased or wary as the man's long strides came to an abrupt stop. Steeling his confidence, he prepared to accept what may come; when, much to his confused dismay, the older man's attention settled on a small table besides them in the corridor. A stray, gloved finger stretching out to dust the white marble surface.
Glancing between the General and the table, the soldier restrained his frustration. “Sir...This is a serious matter,” he affronted, demanding his superiors attention on the matter.
Turning up his hand, the General scanned his fingertip with discernible skepticism. Vaguely sneering as he then turned his hand away from himself, brushing invisible dust from his palm upon his companions sleeve. As he disposed of whatever filth he had apparently picked up, a smile touched his face, only barely reaching his crimson eyes. “I understand you pride yourself in your work. Diligently so. A trait I favor in my allies. It makes you a very valuable asset to our cause.”
As the General praised him for his work ethic, the soldier relaxed ever slightly. Though the comfort of his praise would die in a matter of moments as the Generals eyes narrowed, turning his smile into something wicked.
“Though do remember your place, Major. Your task was to Monitor 3.0 and complete Crystal's project, which you have otherwise performed well... or do you truly believe that you're progressing beyond her that much? I rather concur….. you're results have shown as much.”
The man flushed furiously as the General took a heavy jab at his work, “If… If I may, I believe that we have been making great progress! There has been significant improvement in the older specimens this last quarter; their results will be ready on your desk by the ‘morrow. The earlier models have consistently excelled, showing both strong growth both mentally and physically. THEY also listen to orders, unlike 3.0, who has spent several unsuccessful months in the field on her single mission! From our observations, she seems to have remained at the same status, while the others continually improve. We have all the data we need with the other specimens. I believe we do not need her to complete our goal.”
“How disappointing…” Turning crossly on the younger man, the General sigh and shook his head softly, a dangerous sincerity in his eyes for the young and foolish soldier. “How you fail to realize the useful to be gained from 3.0 escapes me. Needless to say, Her fruition has nearly come to peek. Regardless of how you feel, the project will continue as planned.”
Dejected by his superiors utter denial of his work, the soldier dared to raise the subject again; determined to sway his Generals opinion. “General, sir! If you would only allow me to prove--”
He would no more than speak when the General raised his hand to silence him. An impatient scowl narrowly creasing his brow. “I have been naught but patient for you, but at this point I am through listening to your broken pride cry for resolution on this project. Learn well to let alone or I will remove you from the project entirely--”
It was then that a hurried clack of heavy boots paced swiftly down from the opposite end of the hall with purpose, a much hardier looking man than the young Major approached the pair. Where in salutes were respectfully exchanged between them.
“General! I apologize for interrupting your meeting here, Sir, but the situation on the Vorax affront in Nido is requesting your imminent attention,” The man greeted apologetically, tucking his hand from his brow to his belt to fetch a letter, which was promptly delivered unto the General’s immediate person. “Reir forces are gathering to assist our neighboring kin and would like to commission the aide of our forces as well.”
His complete attention veering from the young Major to the man besides him, marked as a Colonel by the coloring of his coat of arms, the General accepted the letter to read it’s contents. “Is it not burdensome enough that we are amidst our own war? These catastrophes will see us all damned before we see the means to our own ends.” The letter being rather short and frank, the man folded it and returned the paper to the Colonel.
“What is the status of Galear’s involvement?”
“As of this moment, Nido is stranded in defending herself. No allies have yet responded, besides her own peoples.”
“Very well, then. Send her a few of our reinforcements, Colonel. It is the least we can do for the heartland of Devotia. No less, the political aide would serve greatly in our struggle against Galear.”
“Very well, Sir. I’ll arrange for our departure at once--”
“That won't be necessary,” He cut in, staying the mans hurried response and earning himself a confused glance. “I would not put it past the Galear army to use this distraction to their advantage, therefore, I will be staying behind to arm the homestead. I am more than certain a small handful of troops… the fourteenth company, can handle the events in Nido alone.”
“I understand sir…. “ The Colonel replied, though upon giving the General’s order a good bit of thought, could not help but be aware of a small flaw in the General’s plan. “Forgive me for lacking the benefit of the doubt, but won’t sending only the fourteenth company seem… insufficient? Surely the Nidian people would see the numbers we’ve sent and feel as if we’re not trying to give them real aid, but a farce of support. Wouldn’t it be better to send a battalion? We’d not only offer a great hand in the battle ahead, but provide humanitarian aid to the region as well…”
Seeming surprised by the Colonels rebuke, the General calmly replied, "I don’t want to spread our resources too thin. If we send out too many forces, that will mean there will be less HERE if Galear decides to make its move. I am certain that our men and women will be more than capable of handling some…insects. They are a part of Wentias’ finest. Sending more would simply be a waste of time and resources, and I will not stand for that.” Donning an assuring smile, the General took a single, steady step closer to the Colonel. An impassive gesture with so little impression that it caused the man to regret voicing his concerns.
“Of course, General…. I meant no offense to your judgement,” the man stated, dipping his head apologetically.
“I know, lad.” His smile never faltering, the General turned to dismiss himself from the pair. With little more than a prompt but cheerful, “Inform the Lieutenant of his forthcoming departure. Let’s not be late to our own engagements. Dismissed….”
And that would be that. Or so it would seem, until the Colonel quickly beckoned to the Generals attention again. “Sir! Before you go-- There was a telegram from our agents in Nido.”
Stopping abruptly in stride, the General composed himself of any irritability before turning back on the Colonel with a curious smile. “Is that so?” His eyes would lock on the man, as if probing him for why he hadn’t brought this up much earlier. A look that caused even the young Major, standing idly by, to shrink subtly away.
Fumbling for the telegram on his persons, the Colonel thrust it stiffly out into the General’s reach. “We’ve…..We’ve found him, Sir. He was spotted in southern Nido, Sir. Just Seven days prior to the call on arms.“ Roughly estimated, that was about the same time as the great collapse in central Nido. “It appears the missing Prometheus is with him.”
Intrigue lit up the mans face and, since beginning either conversation with the men, the General’s smile reached his eyes. Accepting the Telegram with restrained eagerness, crimson eyes flying through the message inscribed within, the General gave a quiet, sagely hum. “Well….This changes everything.”
Folding the telegram, He suppressed the utter desire to laugh with glee. “Major….Do you still hope to prove your worth?”
The silent man besides the Colonel stare widely, dumbfounded and surprised that he hadn’t been forgotten in lieu of the war topic. “Y-yes, sir!”
“Then prepare your specimens for disembarkation. If you wish to prove yourself worthy of our cause, then now is the time for a proper field test.” Spinning away from both men, General walked briskly down the hall. “Colonel! Sends orders to the lieutenant! …..We depart for Nido immediately…..”